The weekly sessions at the playschool are indeed doing Ethan a lot of good. Before we enrolled him in the class, he was rather afraid of strangers. When well-meaning friends, relatives and strangers approached him with a smile to say hi, he would flinch, scream loudly and sometimes whack either Pete or me on the head, arm or wherever his hands hit. It was worse in the confined spaces of the lift. He would be happily blabbering away but when someone enters the lift, he would cower in fear or ask for either one of us (Daddy or Mommy) to carry him. When he was a few months’ old, he was all right with strangers, but as he grew older, it was apparent that he wasn’t getting as sociable as we would like him to be.
But now after just two or three parent-toddler sessions, we can see that his confidence has skyrocketed.
He now willingly smiles at people who say hi to him. Those that he may not like at first glance, he will just ignore, but he won’t shout loudly. He even waves hi and buhbye sometimes.
On occasion, he gets over-friendly though. Like the other day when we were having dinner at Chili’s with some friends. Ethan wandered away on his own after finishing his hot dog. He saw a girl about 5 years old and went close to her and he started giggling. The girl ran away to sit on the opposite site of the square stone bench, hoping Ethan would not be able to find her. But Ethan followed her and sat next to her. So she ran away to her Mom a few meters away. Our boy ran after her, which prompted her to scream, “Mommy!!!”
Then just the other Sunday, Ethan got restless in church, so I took him out to the garden for a stroll. There were 2 other toddlers there (brother and sister). The boy was about 3 years old, I think. Ethan went close to him and put his nose to his shirt, as if smelling him! Then when the 2 toddlers went to sit on the swing, Ethan walked over, climbed atop the swing and sat in between them, smiling happily.
When we eat out at restaurants, he is also becoming increasingly independently inquisitive. Take Noodle Station, for example. He used to sit quietly in his high chair and eat his noodles, but now he likes to roam around the restaurant, sometimes barefooted. He would even *visit* the tables of other patrons, going close to their tables and smiling at the people there. He also will climb onto the sofa monkey-style and if the tables of other patrons have kids or toddlers, he would giggle at them and attempt to make friends. He does prefer kids that are older than him though.
As you can see, his newfound social skills make it a daunting task for us to run after him nowadays. So do you think his shyness has made way for a different “problem” now?